Penang Bird Park
The Sanctuary Of Feathered Beauties
Nature Paradise At Penang Bird Park

Penang's image as a nature paradise wouldn't be complete without the addition of a bird park to its collection of a world-class butterfly park, aquarium, reptile farm, botanic garden and nature parks.

Besides being a tourist attraction, a bird park also plays a very key role in the protection of endangered bird species. The sanctuary they provide ensures the survival, if not the propagation, of near-extinct species of the bird kingdom.

How far would you go to pursue your lifelong passion with only one objective in mind – to see it turn into a reality? Bird park founder Dr. Gino Ooi Hong Chin, a chemist by qualification, has proven that no obstacle was too difficult to turn his hobby into something tangible.

For centuries, man has been fascinated with the ability to fly – from
Icarus and King Kaj Kaoos to Alexander the Great. Sadly, these early
attempts to fly often ended in disaster. Until the Wright Brothers came
along, man learnt to transfer his love of flying to the love of birds. But as
it turned out, the love affair has lasted until today.

Thus the Penang Bird Park, when it finally took shape was the fulfillment of many things for Dr. Ooi, chief among them being, of course, his love of birds and nature.

Costing RM1.2 million to start up, Penang Bird Park was officially launched by the Prime Minister on 26 November 1988.

Today, this sprawling five-acre park in Seberang Jaya has an impressive collection of more than 300 species of birds from Malaysia and other parts of the world; totalling to more than 3,000 birds all together. Run by Dr. Ooi, the Park costs RM40,000 monthly to maintain and upkeep.

Based on a garden concept, the landscaping of Penang bird park has both structural elements and planting that is in harmony with the local climate and wildlife. Thus the grounds are filled with a rich variety of sustainable and hardy plants like hibiscus, orchids, cacti, bamboo and palm trees.

Like a cool oasis, the cascading waterfalls and natural ponds filled with colourful fishes, lotus and water lilies offer a respite from the heat for visitors. But even more important, they form conducive living environments for the free-roaming pelicans, flamingos, swans, egrets, storks, herons and mandarin ducks.


Chinese-style wooden bridges that connect the paths create picture-perfect backdrops for
photographs. Wedding couples who want an exotic location for their photo shoot use the Park as a setting for a very reasonable fee. The package starts from RM100 for a party of five people not including the photographer.

Birds of all sizes can be seen at Penang Bird Park, ranging from tiny sunbirds to towering 8-foot tall ostriches. The Park is particularly proud of its hornbill, pheasant and sunbird collection.

The varieties on show are endless. By the way, if you are lucky enough to notice some birds which are unusually 'tame' while on a promenade of the park, don't be surprised. They have been specially trained and tamed to "pose" for the camera.

Two walk-in aviaries, two geodesic domes and 132 cages of different sizes allow visitors to take a closer look at some of the birds.

Dotting the Penang bird park are five traditional-looking pondoks that provide much-needed rest for the weary. While basking in the coolness afforded by the shade, one will be tempted to zen-out and appreciate the beauty of such natural beauty.

Kids will love the park's playground while grown-ups may find interesting items to buy in the souvenir shop. A pet shop and a cosy air-conditioned restaurant serving a spread of local and western delights round up the selection of facilities available.




Colourful local beauties
Among the many bird species found at the Park, some 150 species are indigenous to Malaysia – they include the flycatchers, minivets, kingfishers, fairy bluebirds, partridges, tiny flowerpeckers, sunbirds and flightless birds like pheasants and peacocks. Coloured in hues of the rainbow, these birds are magnificent examples of the wonders of nature.

Lifespan of birds vary from specie to specie. For example, the hornbill can live up to an estimated 40 years whereas the kingisher's maximum lifespan is 15 years. Some of them display stunning and endearing mannerism, entertaining children and some of the adults too.

To ensure the well-being of the birds, they are placed in an environment that attempts to mimic their natural habitats as close as possible – from the coastal mangrove swamps to dense tropical rain forests. This also encourages breeding which in turn helps to sustain and propagate their numbers. More than a hundred species of these Malaysian birds are successfully bred in captivity at Penang Bird Park every year.


An important role and responsibility of the Penang Bird Park is in the protection (or conservation) of birds which are dwindling in numbers, such as the Nicobar Pigeon, the peacock pheasants, the fireback pheasants, partridges, owls, hornbills and eagles.

Their conservation programme has proven to be successful and hopefully will ensure the survival of these endangered species.

Extinction of bird species is not to be taken lightly. If we're not careful now, some of our unique bird species may go the way of the Passenger Pigeon, Bachman's Warbler, Dodo Bird, Solitaire, Great Auk and Labrador Duck.

More than just feathered friends
The Park is also a home to several species of mammals and reptiles such as the smallest mouse deer in the world, each of which measures up to only about 12 inches in length.

On the other end of the scale, large animals like the green iguana, 8-feet long monitor lizards, 18-feet long pythons,
10-feet long arapaima gigas (a fresh water fish from the Amazon River), giant soft-shelled turtles and other species are also exhibited in the Park.

While admiring the landscaping and the birds, don't forget to cast your eyes towards the tree-tops and look out for the
leaf-monkeys which are timid in nature. There are more than
20 of them there at the Park.

The animals and fishes in Penang Bird Park are generously donated by the public.



Penang Bird Park Map

View Larger Map


Opening Hour:
Open daily from 9.00am - 7.00pm

Admission:
  • Adult - RM10, Children (below 12 year-old): RM5,
  • School Children (in school uniform): RM2,
  • Camera - RM1,
  • Physically and/or mentally handicapped & under privileged persons are
    allowed free entrance.

Getting There:
Penang bird park is situated along Jalan Todak in Seberang Jaya. If you are driving to the bird park, enter the North-South Highways and turn off at the Seberang Jaya intersection. There will be sign boards along the way to guide you to your destination.

If you are coming from the Penang Bridge, it will only be a 5-minute drive. You can also opt for a 10-minute bus ride from the Ferry terminal or take a special bus from Komtar direct to Seberang Jaya.

Address
Jalan Todak, Seberang Jaya, 13700 Perai, Penang, Malaysia
Tel : 604-399 1899 • Fax : 604-399 1899
Website: www.penangbirdpark.com.my

Written by Raja Abdul Razak and photographed by Adrian Cheah
Courtesy of www.penang tourism.com.my © All rights reserved